Posted by Kate Benefer, Partner
5 of the most common mistakes employers make with their employment contracts
When things go wrong between an employer and an employee and the relationship breaks down, the deciding factor can often be; ‘what does the contract say?’
As experts in employment law we see many cases involving poor contracts and see examples where both employers and employees become a victim of a poorly considered contact.
A contract of employment can provide both certainty and protection to both the employer and the employee, so why do so many companies and individuals get it wrong.
So to help you understand what a good employment contract should do, we have put together this list of 5 things you must consider when writing (and signing) an employment contract.
1. Are your contracts actually relevant?
You have a contract for a junior employee, surely it cannot be that hard to make a couple of amendments and use this for a senior employee? Whilst this can seem to be a good idea, there are subtle differences between junior employees, middle management and senior employees that if missed can cause no end of issues, both during the relationship and if it ends.
2. Does a contract actually describe their role?
Do you need an employee to carry out a specific role, or do you need some flexibility for them to carry out other tasks? A well drafted employment contract means that you can have flexibility in the role that your employee carries out, where they work and importantly it can cater for the needs of your business.
3. Your customers are not protected
If you are concerned about your customer base, your client lists or confidentiality information then a well drafted contract provides you with the opportunity to include specific obligations or provisions protecting your business and your needs. If you fail to include these, and rely upon what is “implied” by law then you could find yourself unstuck.
4. Contracts make happy employees
If an employee has a well drafted contract that contains their rights, contractual benefits and obligations they are going to feel more comfortable in the workplace and ultimately their work. Also they are more likely to feel part of the Company. Put in place a confusing contract or one that is not suited to them and onerous, the relationship can start off badly.
5. They are the beginning (and end) for any dispute
If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in the middle of grievance process or worse facing an Employment Tribunal – a contract is the start point for the majority of these issues. If you have a well drafted contract, with appropriate terms, this can provide some welcome comfort at the start of a difficult process.
It pays to employ the right employment solicitor